The plight of both the white and black rhino lies heavily on the shoulders of anti-poaching units, none more so than the anti-poaching unit in Akagera National Park Rwanda. Meet the eight new Canine Command members.
Becoming part of the anti-poaching unit required a gruelling recruitment and selection process for both dogs and the dog handlers. Each unit undergoes a rigorous additional four-month training and bonding programme. Members of the Rwandan National Police force join the handlers in this training.
For the initiative to be successful, the handlers need to establish a relationship with their companion dogs in order to read and interpret their behaviour. Each dog requires a primary and a secondary handler as they are responsible for the canines 24 hours a day.
8 Canine members join the elite Akagera National Park anti-poaching unit
All the dogs in the Akagera unit are male and roughly three years old. Seven of the dogs are of the Belgian Malinois breed and their names are Reza, Max, Bruno, Bronco, Gozer, Barrack and Tigo. The eighth member is a Dutch Shepherd dog whose name is Duco.
Rwanda - home sweet home!
The dogs are being accommodated in newly-constructed kennels at Akagera’s park headquarters. Once they complete their second training schedule they may be deployed to Rwanda’s two other national parks, Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park, to assist with these areas anti-poaching efforts.
The ongoing anti-poaching canine programme is funded by the Rwanda Development Board.